NEPC readies Ekiti SMEs, exporters for international market

* NEPC’ll continue to promote devpt of non-oil export to safeguard Nigerian economy – Abe

By John Odunjo

The Ekiti State Coordinating Office of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council has held a workshop to sensitize Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the state and registered exporters on what it requires to access and have competitive edge in the international market.

NEPC Ekiti State Coordinator, Mrs Iyabode Abe, urged the SMEs, intending exporters and stakeholders in attendance to take advantage of the workshop to gain more knowledge about the export market.

Abe said the workshop, with the theme, “Importance of mandatory and non-mandatory certification in accessing export market,” would expose the SMEs and exporters to the technicalities of export business to have clear competitive edge in the global market and as well expose them to new business ideas strategies.

She said, “The dividends of this workshop among others are to equip exporters and SMEs in Ekiti State with the knowledge on mandatory ad non-mandatory certification for their products which could as well enhance their drive for export business”.

The state coordinator assured that NEPC led by the Chief Executive Officer, Ezra Yakusak, would continue “to promote the development of non-oil export in order to safeguard the nation’s economy as we all know that the large population on Nigeria is one of the greatest assets of the country in its economic diversification agenda”.

Abe said that the Ekiti Coordinating Office, had since its inception in August 2000, been organising series of workshops for different groups/organisations as part of the council’s effort in the development of non-oil export in the state.

She added that the council was also giving intervention packages to farmers and SMEs to catalyse non-oil export in Ekiti State.

NEPC CEO, Yakusak, who approved the programme for Ekiti State, said it was to ensure exporters in Nigeria had sufficient knowledge of the international market to give them edge, enjoy foreign exchange and improve the nation’s revenue.

Yakusak, represented on the occasion by an assistant director, Afolabi Bello, said that the workshop would enable participants know, among others, the importance of ensuring that their products or services had mandatory and non-mandatory certifications.

The CEO, who said that mandatory certifications are compulsory approvals before certain business or export can be done, added that “non-mandatory certifications are additional certifications, which add extra value to products or services. They give buyers and consumers confidence that the product or service has gone through a globally acceptable system of production”.

He said, “The certifications enhance market access and ability to export and earn more foreign exchange. That is why we are here today to educate the SMEs and intending exporters in Ekiti State on the importance of the mandatory and non-mandatory certifications. Once you have these, it will give you edge over competitors”.

Yakusak said, “NEPC has developed various strategies and initiatives to grow the Nigerian non-oil export sector. This programme we are having in Ekiti is one of them, we build capacity of prospective and intending exporters.

“Currently, we are training over 17,000 prospective and intending exporters across the country. We open them, we let them know the requirements on international market for their products so that they can tailor them to the specific demands of the market.

“Most times, people want to export, but they don’t know the requirements in terms of packaging, labelling, they are not competitive. So, we open them up, we give them marketing information. There are times we even take exporters out to international trade fairs so that they will see how international market looks like.

“We expose them, we sensitise them, we strategically partner and collaborate with other agencies both local and international to develop the Nigerian non-oil export sector. All those are now reflecting in the non-oil export figure.

“NEPC’s contributions to the Nigerian economy in terms of revenue had been massive. We are targeting that by the end of 2023, we should earn over $5billion as non-oil export revenue,” the CEO said.

The Permanent Secretary, Ekiti State Ministry of Trade and Industries, Mr Ayodele Adeyanju, who lauded NEPC efforts in promoting non-oil exports in Ekiti State, said the result had been encouraging.

Adeyanju, who said the export market was tremendous, advised SMEs and prospective exporters in the state to abide by the requirements and as well ensure they had the mandatory and non-mandatory certifications to give their products and services competitive edge globally.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *